It pleases me to no end to share this communication released by the Alzheimer’s Association today. This is exactly the kind of exposure we need to drive home the importance of the war we are waging on this disease. Thank you, President Obama, for shining the spotlight on this impending national crisis.

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From Alzheimer’s Association President & CEO, Harry Johns
February 13, 2013

Last night, President Barack Obama mentioned Alzheimer’s in his State of the Union Address, the first time that’s happened in thirteen years.   He said:

Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful.  Now is not the time to cut these job-creating investments in science and innovation.  Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.

The Alzheimer’s Association applauds the President for underscoring the importance of funding for medical research, and specifically research to end the Alzheimer’s epidemic. We must provide Alzheimer’s scientists with the resources they require in time for the huge generation of Baby Boomers who will as much as triple the ranks of the more than five million Americans who have Alzheimer’s today.  We must change the trajectory of Alzheimer’s if we are to address one of the most significant underlying cost drivers of Medicare and Medicaid.

Just as with the National Alzheimer’s Plan and the previous financial commitments from the Obama administration, the President’s statement about the importance of Alzheimer’s research in his State of the Union Address is based on recognition of the human and financial impact of Alzheimer’s.  It is another important step on this continuing journey which our Association has so much responsibility to lead.  It indicates the impact of our public work and our work behind the scenes.   It is also a clear signal that your work and the work of our more than 500,000 nationwide advocates to make Alzheimer’s a national priority is making a difference.

Just three weeks ago, the Alzheimer’s Advisory Council, on which I have the honor to serve, unanimously endorsed recommendations to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as well as to Congress, to update the National Alzheimer’s Plan.  These recommendations include benchmarks to achieve the Plan’s goal of preventing and effectively treating this deadly disease by 2025. In keeping with the President’s remarks last night, we call on the President and Congress to take action in the coming days to fully support the critical first steps in implementing this plan – a plan that is a result of bipartisan cooperation by Congress, swift and effective implementation by the Administration, and the input of many Americans with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers and other advocates from across the country.

We must ensure that the National Alzheimer’s Plan is fully funded.  We must continue to raise concern about the disease to be commensurate with its impact and to raise awareness of our Association. We must expand the reach of programs so that all who face this disease know that they don’t have to face it alone. And we must ensure that promising research is supported, shared and optimized in our fight with the devastating, debilitating killer that is Alzheimer’s.

I look forward to our next steps together and to our ultimate success at achieving our mission.  Thank you for everything you do to make such advances possible.

Harry Johns
Alzheimer’s Association President & CEO

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